Keeping Ferrets Cool
Ferrets don't tolerate heat like humans or other animals. In their natural environment they live underground and in cooler climates than the harsh Australian heat.
Ferret owners must take extra precautions over the summer months to ensure their fuzzies don't suffer from heat stress.
Ferrets do not sweat, nor do they pant (normally). Whereas other mammals may sweat to cool their body down, ferrets cannot. If your ferret starts to pant they are already suffering heat stress and require that immediate action be taken.
Temperatures around the mid 20's cause discomfort for ferrets and can cause serious problems within a short time. High humidity is much worse than high temperature. It is advisable to keep an eye on your ferrets when the humidity is high even if the temperature is not.
Signs to look out for are:
- Nose and gums turn darker shade of pink
- Mouth open when resting
- Panting or salivating
- Redness on footpads
- Being lethargic and lying flat on the floor
The best way to avoid heat problems is to keep your ferrets in an air conditioned room. This isn't always possible and there are other methods to keep your fuzzy cool.
- Ice: A good method is freezing bottles of water and wrapping them in a towel and placing them inside the cage. The ferrets will lay against the cool towel.
- Sunlight: Keep the cage away from direct sunlight and away from windows that can radiate heat. Rooms like the bathroom and laundry are more often than not cooler than other rooms.
- Water: Ferrets always need plenty of water. Ensure they have plenty of fresh water available at all times. You can also provide a water bowl for them to splash around in.
- Fans: Fans, while good for people won't help cooling down your ferrets. One way to make a fan more effective is to drape a wet towel over the ferret cage with one end in the bottom of a water filled bucket. The towel will act as a wick and draw water into the towel providing evaporative cooling.
Be sure your ferrets don't get a chill from the cold air.